Former Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson is no longer under investigation by Lancashire Police.
The force has confirmed that the former Mayor is one of four men who have been told they are no longer being investigated as part of Operation Sheridan. Mr Anderson, who was Mayor from 2012 to 2021, was interviewed under caution almost four years ago as part of the operation which was launched in 2013.
An investigation was launched into alleged financial impropriety centred around Lancashire Council’s BT joint venture, One Connect – the sister operation of the now defunct Liverpool Direct BT deal. Liverpool Council’s then chief executive, Ged Fitzgerald, was arrested in connection with the probe in 2017.
Mr Fitzgerald, who resigned the following year, was questioned along with the former boss of Liverpool Council’s BT joint venture David McElhinney, ex city finance chief Phil Halsall, and former Lancashire County Council leader Geoff Driver. They were all arrested relating to their time in posts at Lancashire Council and all denied any wrongdoing.
In a statement, Lancashire Police confirmed Mr Anderson and three other men were no longer being investigated. It said: “Lancashire Constabulary have written to four men to tell them they are no longer under investigation as part of Operation Sheridan.
“The four, aged 64, 68, 66 and 62 were contacted last month and told they would face no further action. Operation Sheridan was launched in 2013 following allegations of financial irregularity made to the constabulary by Lancashire County Council.
“On completion of the investigation, we referred the matter to the Crown Prosecution Service who are currently considering potential offences in relation to four other individuals. We would like to remind all concerned that criminal proceedings in this matter remain active.
“It is extremely important there should be no reporting, commentary or sharing of information online which could in any way prejudice any future proceedings.” In February, Liberal Democrat leaders in Liverpool and Lancashire called on the chief constables in both forces to “speed up” the investigations.
Mr Anderson was arrested in December 2020 among four others as part of Merseyside Police’s Operation Aloft, an investigation into building and development contracts in the city.
This led to the former Mayor stepping aside from his council role and Mr Anderson took Liverpool Council to court in a bid to have the local authority fund his legal costs. He denies all wrongdoing.
He took to Twitter at the weekend to complain about the lack of media coverage about the investigation being dropped.